VW Beetle Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I've been a VW enthusiast for decades, but recently acquired my first NB. Used to have a shop in SoCal for rebuilding Porsche engines and we'd stuff 3 liters in Vanagons and buses all the time. Had a lot of Doka's as well. Biggest regret is selling my Eurovan Doka.

Haven't done VW's in about 10 years, but recently found a 1998 TDI Beetle that I couldn't pass up. It's sort of like a barn find: it's been stored inside for more than 10 years, after the original owner died. He managed to put less than 60k miles on it. It was very dusty, and slightly grubby inside, but everything is intact, and everything works - even the AC. Flushed the cooling & fuel systems and it's running like new.

I'm inspired by the FrankenBuilt lifted TDI Beetle, so a new Metal Nerd lift kit and related bits are being ordered.

As fate would have it, the day after I bought this '98 TDI someone gave me a 2001 NB GLX turbo (gas) with a blown auto trans. I transferred the perfect black leather interior to the TDI, as well as the updated door mirrors. Feeling pretty uptown now :) I'll post updates to the mods I'll be doing, along with pictures.

This is my first TDI - any advice on things to look out for? Precautions? Special maintenance? Anything at all is appreciated.

Here's a picture of the '98 TDI just before the mirror swap:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
Welcome, quite a unique story; on your "barnfind" New Beetle! To get yourself acquainted with the Mark IV TDI's check out myturbodiesel.com for a great faq section and tdiclub.com for indepth technical advice and support. :) By the way; where was your old aircooled shop, I used to live in California and may have remembered your place! Who Knows! I drove a aircooled bug; everyday from 1987 until the year 2000; went through quite a few engines and did lots of valve adjustments and constant tune ups! I could do a valve adjustment; pretty quickly, after a while! :) I don't know, about where you live but the aircooled scene; has really been reduced to a minimum and I hardly see any vanagons, eurovans or any aircooled VW's on the road, driving around. They only seem to come out for car shows; being relegated to garage queens, it seems or occasional use cars. The current trend for vans and even beetles; seems to be modern engine swaps; like a boxer watercooled turbo subaru and from what I see online, is a reliable engine upgrade. As we all know; the air cooled engine, was the primary weak point in the car and a modern engine, would be a godsend to improve the reliability of aircooled VW's! I look forward, to hearing about your time in the air cooled repair industry and we will do our best, to help you out with your "new" experience in the New Beetle and Mark iV VW platform. Welcome and thanks for jointing! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Billy.

My shop was in Orange County, CA, but that was 25 years ago now. We built Porsche engines, and Type IV engines. Once we found a way to keep the valves seats in the heads the Type IV engines became my favorite. We would punch them out to 3.0 liters, but the 2.7 had the best performance/reliability factor. VERY strong motor!

Unfortunately the aircooled motors seem like dinosaurs nowadays - and really, they are. I've got a friend with a 2000 VW Turbo and that tiny 1.8 liter ALH motor makes 225HP (modded, of course, but it's also a reliable daily driver). Just can't beat overhead cams and liquid cooling.

I will check out your recommendations for TDI info.

Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
What was the name of your shop? Many of the best old school vw aircooled engine shops; seemed to be from SoCal or California area (e.g. Gene Berg, Fat Performance, CB Performance, GEX, etc.). The Type IV engine swaps; I was always told were the more durable engines and the desert racing VW's seemed to prefer them as well. My family, had a 76' VW bus with the first Bosch fuel injection system and that was a interesting setup. No one, knew how to work on it; so, they converted it over to dual carbs, which in retrospect was kinda dumb. I noticed people doing this on early FI VW's; on a number of occasions, as very few people understood the Bosch fuel injection system, at the time. The "I don't get it and throw it out" and get Weber carbs, was the "solution". I never knew anyone; who really knew how to work on those systems, do you know if they are problematic or were they a good system? I'm sure the first generation of anything; especially, something like fuel injection, had its teething problems. CB Performance, now has FI setups for aircooled engines and even turbo setups; things have come a long way, compared to when I had my aircooled Beetles! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not being intentionally elusive I swear, it's just that my shop didn't have a name. It started off as simply a place for me and a few friends to tinker with our various personal projects. Didn't take long before people were approaching us asking us to work on their projects. My aforementioned friends couldn't devote more time so I started taking on outside projects. Built a bunch of Type IV race engines for teams competing in the Baja 500 & 1000. Built a lot of 3.0 Porsche engines, but exclusively for nutty engine swap projects - did a lot of 3.0's in Vanagon & Doka syncros, for example.

I loved the fuel injection systems in the later buses. They were tricky, however: one tiny, lone ground wire would connect to a terminal on the case under the intake plenum - after years of baking, that wire would simply break off where it came out of the loom and fall away. The FI system wouldn't work correctly without it. And you're right, not many shops were familiar with that FI system - I must have fixed more faulty FI systems on buses with that one fix alone. Hundreds, maybe.

Oh, what days those were.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
The air cooled era VW's took a certain type of person; to own one and if you didn't have someone else fix them for you, to continually tinker with them, to keep them on the road. Owning a aircooled VW; wasn't a car but a lifestyle of continual repairs and maintenance.

As I was pulling my engines all the time and adjusting valves, etc; I would think about Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and him designing those engines, in the 1930's. Crude, cheap and fulfilled Hitler's list of specifications he needed for the common German blue collar worker, the "people's car". While it didn't make the work any easier; at least, I understood that I was working on something, designed for different era and time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Funny, as I tinker with my TDI Beetle it sort of feels like the same as owning an old air cooled VW - it helps tremendously to be a tinkerer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
Yeah, there is a familiarity to it; you just need a scan tool, to figure things out. I recommend investing in VCDS by Ross Tech, if you haven't already.

www.ross-tech.com


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top